Aja Brown (2016)

Fenn Award Recipient

Read the New Frontier Award® announcement


At the age of 31, Aja Brown became the youngest mayor in the history of Compton, California. Elected in 2013, Brown previously served over 10 years as an urban planner in municipalities across Southern California. She was elected to office on her 12 point plan, “Vision For Compton,” that focused on gang violence and bringing new jobs into the city.

Brown mediated talks between gang organizations to significantly reduce violence and crime. After doing so, Brown secured federal support for Compton through a new United States Department of Justice violence prevention program, the Violence Reduction Network.

In 2014, Brown instituted a Local Hiring Ordinance that requires all city assisted development projects to guarantee a 35% local hiring preference and community benefits agreement to further enrich the City of Compton. Over the past three years, Brown has been integral in bringing major redevelopment projects and jobs to the City of Compton, including UPS, Walmart, Smart & Final, and infrastructure improvement projects that have created hundreds of local jobs for residents. 

Brown holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy, Urban Planning and Development, along with a Master’s degree in Urban Planning with a concentration in Economic Development from the University of Southern California. She was awarded the prestigious University of Southern California Young Alumni Merit Award in 2014. She lives in Compton with her husband Van.

Acceptance Speech